How to enroll in an American UNIVERSITY for free education

Education in America is one of the most expensive in the world. Indeed, in the US there is the fact that in Russia, called budget places. All applicants being admitted on equal terms, but after crediting everyone can qualify for financial aid — scholarships, which fully or partially cover the cost of tuition, according to Lifehacker.

Как поступить в американский ВУЗ на бесплатное обучение

Photo: shutterstock

Most universities in the United States multimillion-dollar funds, and they are willing to provide payments including foreign students. Will tell you what you need to know about education in America and financial aid to students.

What types of higher education is in the US

In America there are several levels of higher education: community College (community college), undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies. Undergraduate and community College options for high school graduates, other degrees are suitable for those foreigners who have already graduated from a University in their homeland.

The community College of

It is something like the Russian technical schools and colleges. The students of this institution are the first two years of the educational program, and then can transfer to third year of University. This direction has its advantages: virtually no examination (only tests language proficiency TOEFL or IELTS), so it is very easy to do, and the training is relatively cheap. For comparison: undergraduate at a state University is worth 30 thousand dollars a year, in private — from 60 thousand dollars a year. While tuition at community College you need to pay in the region of 8-10 thousand dollars for the year.

It is worth considering that the reputation of the community colleges are worse than universities. And to finish your undergraduate degree, after the second course will need to go to University. While no financial aid for foreign students will be there.


Arrive here after school, and after graduating from Russian secondary school or community College (the American College arrive at the third course). Training on the bachelor degree lasts 4 years.

Important fact: when applying to American universities do not need to choose a specialty. A bachelor degree in the US, it is possible to do within the first two years. So, if you don’t know what I would like to specialize, American universities can easily learn, try, choose classes and decide only at the end of the second year.

For admission to the undergraduate courses you need to take the examination of TOEFL/IELTS and SAT/ACT. Optional — SAT Subject.

SAT is a standardized test of knowledge of the curriculum. It is similar to the Russian exam, but includes questions from two subjects: English and mathematics. ACT analogue of the SAT, but this test includes an additional section with questions from several natural scientific fields: physics, chemistry, geography and others. All us colleges accept both exams. None of them gives any advantages.

Subject SAT is an optional exam, it is something like the exam of choice. The results of this test can be attached to the application for admission, if you want to demonstrate excellent knowledge in any of the subjects.

Each exam has an expiration date. The results of the SAT and ACT are valid for 5 years, TOEFL and IELTS 2 years.

If you are already a student and went 1-2 year bachelor in Russia, you will not be able to start training in American universities from scratch. Suitable for you transfer transfer from one University to another. Students who took advantage of the Shuttle service, to qualify for financial aid can’t.


This following after bachelors degree. It is already training in a particular specialty, and it lasts a year or two years. You can choose a master’s degree in any field-medicine, law, the creative professions. A very popular destination business‑graduate programs — MBA.

For admission also must pass an exam on language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS) and GRE examination in English and mathematics. It is similar to the SAT/ACT, but more complex as it is designed for those who already have higher education. There is an analogue called GRE GMAT designed specifically for business graduate programs. But his take on other programs.

The validity of the certificates, GRE and GMAT — 5 years.


Option for those who want to become a teacher and work at the University. Postgraduate studies lasts a minimum of four years, you can go after the Russian master, and in some cases after a bachelor’s degree (need to check with a specific school).

This program is always free but during the training you will need to seriously teach and study science. So, before you choose graduate school, you must decide whether you are ready to dedicate your life to it.

Mandatory exams such as TOEFL, IELTS and GRE.

What documents are required for admission and when to send them

Reception of applications and selection of prospective students in America begins much earlier than in Russia. For example, if you are planning to start training in September 2021, the documents must be submitted before the end of December 2020. Responses from universities come in April.

Here is what is included in the application:

Recommendations from teachers. Not a formal phrase about his good behavior during lessons, and the text in the style of “letter to colleague”, in which your teacher talks about how you behaved in the subjects, what projects did you work, on extra-curricular activity and personal qualities.

  • Transcript. List your school or University assessments. As the documents need to be sent to the middle of the school year, it will be prior notes: if you are a student, then for 10th grade and first half of 11th grade. For those who entered in a magistracy, — the evaluation of the diploma. The transcript goes online in the form of a table composed of a specific pattern: name of subject, number of hours and level of achievement. Confirmed by the seal and signature of the school or University.
  • Form. Contains basic information about you, including information about education, awards and other achievements. Also in the profile are data on parents: name, date of birth, education, place of work. This also need to attach the results of the exams and a motivational essay (or letter). Complete the application form on the website of the University at the time of application.
  • Summary. This is an optional item if you go on the bachelor. But the contenders for a place in the magistracy or postgraduate study should prepare detailed CV, showing your personal and professional development. In the American version has its own peculiarities: for example, to attach a photo, specify your gender and date of birth is too much information. In the US summary — dry data on education and work experience. There are many good samples on the Internet, they can be guided in the preparation of his own.
  • Portfolio. These are examples of creative works, and to apply them not necessarily. But if you go on creative specialty and paint pictures, make music or play in the theatre, your drawings and writing need to include in the portfolio.

How to get financial aid

What are the different types of payments for students.

For the beginning we shall understand, what is the amount for education in the United States. It includes two main items: pay directly tuition (Tuition) and for a hostel and meals (Room and Board).

The amount of these articles consists in the total cost of training. In private universities is 60 to 70 thousand dollars a year, in the state — about 30 thousand dollars a year. We must note that state universities do not provide financial assistance to foreign students.

There are two main types of payments. Is there a term for need‑based aid — he means financial assistance that give to the needy, that is, in a situation when the family does not have enough money to pay for the education. Support of this kind for admission to undergraduate courses provided to foreign students. The University can reimburse you for the full cost of tuition, accommodation and meals in case, if the family makes less than 60 thousand dollars a year, and only tuition, if family income does not exceed 120 thousand dollars a year. To get maximum financing need great grades, great sat, great essays and good recommendations.

For admission to a graduate foreign student may, as a rule, to apply only for merit‑based aid. This financial assistance for services — if you, say, a talented athlete or a young scientist and you have great grades. This subsidy does not depend on your financial situation.

For that you have to pay anyway

Is spending, to avoid which will not work. Among the obligatory expenses — payment for exams. One attempt to submit the SAT reasoning test will cost $ 110, TOEFL — an average of $ 250 per attempt. GRE is $ 205. Also you will need to pay a questionnaire fee that your chosen University has read your application. In different institutions it ranges from 30 to 250 dollars.

Also have to pay for sending exam results — an average of $ 20 for one test result at one University. Four-sending is included in the cost of the exam, for an additional will have to pay.

Well, most likely, you will have to spend a certain amount on tuition, textbooks and other methods of preparation for admission. But these costs are purely individual and depend on the level of knowledge in each case.

Whom financial assistance is not available

  • Students from families whose income exceeds 120 thousand a year, do not give out need‑based aid. However, they may qualify for merit‑based aid — scholarship for achievements.
  • Students who make a transfer, that is translated from a Russian University on 2‑or 3‑year U.S. bachelor’s degree, financial assistance is not provided.
  • Are not eligible for the scholarship students who came to University after community College.
  • Also provided financial assistance to foreign students who enter state universities in the United States. It can only get residents — residents of the relevant state.

How to apply for financial aid

To tell the universities about their intentions to need‑based aid, you must fill out a universal form CSS it takes most universities. Create a page in CSS Profile and enter information about the financial status of the family. In order to fill all the items you need to get a Bank account statement and reference to the work of parents, which will be referred to the salary for the last two years. You will also need to enter the data about the cost of the apartment, the presence of large attachments, annual spending on utilities, entertainment, food, clothing.

Do not need to have all the information at once. By creating an account, you can log in whenever you want, and all the added information is saved.

Some universities may require other documents to confirm the financial status of the family. Such requirements can be seen on the website of the University. As a rule, it is:

  • Income Statement — data on incomes of parents for last two years. The document must be translated into English. A statement need not be notarized, you need to send a PDF file of the translated information.
  • Certification of Finances — the financial position of the student. The paper must fill out in English and to put his signature. After that, scan and send to the email address of the University. Either attach in a special window during form filling the CSS Profile, which will appear after you submit your application for admission to a specific institution.

In General, all documents are sent in the form of scans after the CSS form or attached to the request of the applicant.

As for merit‑based aid, many universities default consider all applicants as candidates for the scholarship. In other cases, your achievement will need further supporting documents. Anyway, look for information about the terms of payment on the website of the specific University.

How to choose a College for admission

You should refer to the ranking of the most generous for foreigners schools in the United States. They have huge scholarship funds, and these universities often accept students from abroad and pay for their training.

The leader in this ranking Columbia University (Columbia University) in the 2018-2019 school year, provided financial assistance to 254 foreign students; the average amount of 68 thousand dollars. On the second place — Skidmore College (Skidmore College), who paid 87 students on average for 67 thousand dollars. The third —the Duke University (Duke University), which funds allowed last year to 213 accept foreign students and to give them the benefit of 66 thousand dollars.

In General, the amount of financial assistance in the lead universities of the ivy League, and among them were very special Princeton University (Princeton University). In 2018-2019 school year, 60% of the students of ivy League universities received payments in the amount of 52 thousand dollars on average.

Information about the amount of financial aid for foreigners is available on the websites of universities and in the public domain. For example, in the aggregator С there is evidence of the potential funds of each institution. If you do not find the desired information in the public domain, please contact the University by mail or call the office of financial aid (calls to USA with Skype are cheap).

Check‑list for applicants

In conclusion, I suggest the sequence of actions required for admission to an American University:

  • Get good grades in school or University.
  • To raise the level of English up to Intermediate (minimum required for exams).
  • To write a motivation essay.
  • To prepare for the exams and pass the necessary tests.
  • To choose a College.
  • Prepare the necessary documents.
  • Fill in the form.
  • To apply for financial assistance.
  • Wait for the result and hope for success!



higher education

Educational program

free education

higher education in СШАFacebookVkontakte